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Poster: JeffT Date: Apr 13, 2006 11:47am
Forum: movies Subject: Automatic generation of real player (rm) files?

Is there any way to have archive.org automatically generate a streaming real player files (rm) for contributed videos? I've been contributing some videos to archive.org and only streaming mp4 files are generated. But these are not as convenient to play because a free full screen player for mp4 files is hard to find. (Free version of quicktime does not have a full screen mode - that I could find). Real player does.

If it is possible to have real player files generated when uploading mpeg1 or mpeg2 content, how do I do that?

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Poster: akb Date: Apr 13, 2006 11:25pm
Forum: movies Subject: Re: Automatic generation of real player (rm) files?

I believe that the formats that are generated were chosen because they are not proprietary. Unfortunately Real is proprietary and thus probably not suitable for archiving.

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Poster: JeffT Date: Apr 13, 2006 11:56pm
Forum: movies Subject: Re: Automatic generation of real player (rm) files?

I agree that it would be bad to use a proprietary format as for reference archiving. But as long as items are archived and made available in a high quality non-proprietary format (such as mpeg2) it seems to me that there is no harm in making alternative formats also available (such as mp4 and rm). The more formats available, the more likely it is that one of them will be easy to play.

Obviously archive.org is not avoiding RealPlayer format entirely, since it is the VERY FIRST application listed on streaming FAQ (http://www.archive.org/about/faqs.php#94)and is used for much of the content.

If there was a free streaming mp4 player that worked in full screen mode with the archive.org mp4 streams, and if the streaming FAQ would reference that application and give instructions about how to use it, mp4 format might be as good as realplayer. But as it stands now, I think RealPlayer formats are much easier to view full screen, and I'd like my uploaded content to be also available in that format.

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Poster: FP Date: Apr 14, 2006 1:01am
Forum: movies Subject: Re: Automatic generation of real player (rm) files?

VLC streams MP4 nicely. It's free.
http://www.videolan.org/vlc/

(edited fur grammair or spelleing)

This post was modified by FP on 2006-04-14 08:01:51

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Poster: JeffT Date: Apr 14, 2006 2:11am
Forum: movies Subject: Re: Automatic generation of real player (rm) files?

As I described earlier in this thread, I was not able to get VLC to stream. For example, with item:

http://www.archive.org/details/redwood_center_2005_12_13_rhodes
The 256k mp4 stream is:
http://www.archive.org/stream/redwood_center_2005_12_13_rhodes/rhodes_256kb.mp4

When I follow the directions for "Playing a network steam" in the VideoLan documentation, at:
http://www.videolan.org/doc/play-howto/en/ch03.html

(Briefly, File -> Open Network Stream..., then paste the link to the 256K MP4 stream into the HTTP/HTTPS/FTP/MMS URL on the Network tab, then click OK), nothing happens.

Can you (or anyone) give me suggestions to get it working?

But even if it does work (which I would be happy to know how), it really doesn't solve my problem because I want general users to be able to easily stream full screen my uploaded content. As it is, they would never know about VideoLan from the archive.org streaming FAQ (http://www.archive.org/about/faqs.php#94), let alone how to use it.

If MP4 format is going to be the only streaming format available at archive.org for some content, then there should be a free easy to use client that can stream in full screen AND there should be detailed instructions for how to obtain and use it in the FAQ.

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Poster: richardsur Date: Apr 14, 2006 4:45am
Forum: movies Subject: Re: Automatic generation of real player (rm) files?

1) The main reason there are few Real files in the archive is that, as far as I am aware, there are no free, command-line based programs available for Linux to generate such files. All the other formats can be derived using freely available tools. Since Real Networks has chosen to keep the formats proprietary and closed, there are few options to generate Real files and the format will continue to decline in popularity.

2) VideoLAN does stream MP4 files correctly. Instead of copying and pasting the "Stream - 256Kb MPEG4" link, try using the "Download - 256Kb MPEG4" link. I know it may be counterintuitive, but it works.

3) MPlayer is not that confusing to download. On the Download page, click on any of the links to the right of "Windows releases" and download the listed .ZIP file. Or, just try this link: http://www.mplayerhq.hu/MPlayer/releases/win32/MPlayer-mingw32-dev-CVS-050928.zip

4) If you absolutely must use Real Player, use the same "Download - 256Kb MPEG4" link that works with VideoLAN. Copy and paste it into the dialog box that opens when you click on File > Open. Recent versions of Real Player have full support for playback of MP4 files.

Real is an obsolete format and is dying. I would really recommend trying MP4 or XviD. You may be surprised how good the quality is.

This post was modified by richardsur on 2006-04-14 11:45:44

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Poster: JeffT Date: Apr 14, 2006 6:26am
Forum: movies Subject: Re: Automatic generation of real player (rm) files?

1) VideoLan: I tried the "Download - 256Kb MPEG4" link as you suggested. I got it to open a video window, but it still didn't stream correctly. The application was stuck on the first image even though the time counter increased. Yes, I think it is very counterintuitive, that to "stream" one has to use the download link. What is the stream link for, if not streaming?

2) MPlayer: I downloaded the version at link you suggest. It is a command line-only application which requires reading on-line documentation to figure out how to use.

3) Compare the user experience of the above two applications to Real Player. The above two applications either require cutting and pasting a counterintuitive URL (and even then it didn't work) or looking up commands in an on-line manual and entering them into a shell. With the Real Player client, the user just clicks on the stream link and viola: the stream starts.

4) I think this points out a major problem that needs to be addressed by archive.org. The problem is, that when a user clicks on the "help" link next to the word "stream", the FAQ that is opened:
http://www.archive.org/about/faqs.php#94
Says that Real Player is used to view streaming content and that quicktime is required for mp4 streaming. But, by default, there are no real player files generated for newly uploaded content. And the free version of Quicktime cannot display in full screen mode. Thus, there is no way for a user to view streamed content in full screen just using the information at the Archive.org website. Free applications that can play mp4 content in full screen mode (such as VideoLan and MPlayer) are not mentioned in the FAQ. And even if they were mentioned, without some detailed directions they are not easy to get working.
To solve this, one solution would be to provide Real Video versions of the content. That way the available content format would match what is in help link, and it allows full screen streaming.

5) I don't know if Real is an obsolete format. I do know that it's still actively used at some major sites. For example: http://www.uctv.tv, and http://www.wpr.org and for webcasts at UC-Berkeley.

6) My main desire is that video content I upload be easy to view in full screen mode for general users. Right now (with only mp4 streaming) that's not the case.

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Poster: Madhavananda Date: Apr 16, 2006 9:33am
Forum: movies Subject: Re: Automatic generation of real player (rm) files?

1. A 320x240 ratio 256kbps MP4 file looks, in most cases, absolutely horrible in full screen. Does it not?

2. You can of course generate RM files and upload them yourself. Looks like you did just that?

2b. Perhaps Real would be interested in licensing a free tool for Archive to process files into RM format to extend the lifespan of their format?

3. ...a major problem that needs to be addressed by archive.org -> If only this was the major problem in the FAQ...

This post was modified by Madhavananda on 2006-04-16 16:33:39

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Poster: richardsur Date: Apr 13, 2006 9:54pm
Forum: movies Subject: Re: Automatic generation of real player (rm) files?

Have you tried MPlayer (http://www.mplayerhq.hu/) or VideoLAN (http://www.videolan.org/)? Both programs are free, can handle MP4, can play full-screen, and are faster and less bloated than Real Player.

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Poster: JeffT Date: Apr 13, 2006 10:35pm
Forum: movies Subject: Re: Automatic generation of real player (rm) files?

Two things: first, these other products (MPlayer and VideoLAN) are not listed when a user clicks on the "help" link next to the "Stream" section of an archive.org item. The help says streaming can be done by RealPlayer and that Quicktime is required for mp4. Most people will just follow that and now know about the other products.

Second: It's not obvious how to use these products to stream archive.org mp4 files. VideoLAN: I downloaded it and installed it. Following the instructions (in http://www.videolan.org/doc/play-howto/en/ch03.html), I tried to open a network stream to an archive.org mp4 file. Link I was trying to open was:

http://www.archive.org/stream/redwood_center_2005_12_13_rhodes/rhodes_256kb.mp4

I could never get it to play. Also, when I installed VideoLan, there was no option (that I saw) for integrating with the browser so that clicking on a .mp4 stream link would automatically open the VideoLan app, the way a RealPlayer stream is opened when clicking on a real stream link.

With MPlayer, it's not clear what should be downloaded for a Windows platform. Official releases all seem to be sources. Looks to me like the binaries are contributed by third parties and there are many to choose from. I can't expect a general user who wants to view my streaming content to build the MPlayer app from sources or figure out which of many binaries to install.

Contrasts the above with RealPlayer. With RealPlayer, the user clicks on the Help link, reads that RealPlayer is used for streaming. Then they click on the RealPlayer stream, it starts, and they see the Video, in full screen mode if they wish. *Much* easier.

That's why I'd like RealPlayer streams to be automatically generated if possible.